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What educational thing does my kid want for his 11th birthday? UPDATE PAGE 3


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Posted (edited)

My mom is quite well to do, and can be very generous, but she likes to give "educational gifts".  For DS13 this is easy because she considers music "educational".  She buys all his instruments, and pays for lessons, and ensembles, and pretty much anything he wants.  But every birthday and Christmas she asks what to get DS10 and I'm stumped.

She won't buy things related to most of his interests.

Sports -- a waste of money

Legos -- she's not interested in "toys"

Woodworking, and cooking -- not "educational" 

In the past, she's gotten him robotics kits, science kits, snap circuits all of which have been well used. 

She likes the idea of "lessons", but DS10 is a kid who likes his downtime and he's already signed up for school and sports. 

So, I'm stumped.  

Anyone have any ideas for really cool things I might not have seen? 

 

Edited by BaseballandHockey
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Is there an experience that he hasn't done that would make sense? A class or workshop that you usually wouldn't spring for that he'd enjoy? A pricey field trip that would be cool?

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Just now, Farrar said:

Is there an experience that he hasn't done that would make sense? A class or workshop that you usually wouldn't spring for that he'd enjoy? A pricey field trip that would be cool?

I'm not sure.  That's the kind of thing she likes to give, but I'm not really sure.  He really would prefer to figure things out for himself, rather than to be taught, and he's already got a lot on his schedule between sports and school.  I'm also not ready to commit to indoor things for the fall since he won't be vaccinated at least when he begins. 

I'm not sure where he'd want to go on a field trip.  What kinds of things would you be thinking of?  

Just now, Tanaqui said:

Your mother sounds charming.

Oh yeah, very charming.   In a snobby kind of way.  

Just now, Tanaqui said:

How about books?

He reads well, but doesn't read for pleasure,  other than cookbooks, which she wouldn't buy.  I think that a gift of a lot of books would feel like she was trying to pressure him into doing something she approves of.  

 

 

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model rockets?  Along those same lines, an engineer friend told me he built a V8 Visible Engine model as a kid that taught him a lot.   And then there are those wooden models of da Vinci's ideas or just marble roller coasters.

Have you tried the logic of "a cooking gift to DS is also a gift to me since it's one less time I have to cook"?  Is she local that she could attend a cooking class with your DS?  We have a macaron class in our big city.  Or a cake decorating class?

What about cash as a learning experience on how to cash a check/portion out to charity/ decide on best option, etc.

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4 minutes ago, BaseballandHockey said:

He reads well, but doesn't read for pleasure,  other than cookbooks, which she wouldn't buy.  I think that a gift of a lot of books would feel like she was trying to pressure him into doing something she approves of.  

So a book about sports wouldn't work, I take it?

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Just now, Farrar said:

Does he have classes he's signed up for next year that she could become the funder of?

 

No, right now, we're planning sports, and religious ed, and maybe church choir as his activities, and other than choir, which is free, those aren't on her approved list.  

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Is he interested in computer coding at all? Maybe a course or software designed to teach coding, but is an "at your own pace" type of thing so he can pick away at it when he wants to and ignore it for weeks at a time when he is busy with his other interests. Maybe there is one where he can design sports themed video games? 🤷🏻‍♀️

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1 minute ago, Not_a_Number said:

My mom kind of has the same issue. One of the most successful things she's bought us is the Dash robot that you can program through an app... 

https://www.amazon.com/Wonder-Workshop-Dash-Activated-Programming/dp/B00SKURVKY

This would be young for an 11 year old I think, but maybe an arduino kit or something like that would be good! 

https://store.arduino.cc/usa/arduino/arduino-kits

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Just now, Not_a_Number said:

So a book about sports wouldn't work, I take it?

His brother's birthday is a week before his, and will get a gift certificate for several thousands of dollars to do his very favorite thing.  

I can't have her just give him a book. 

But he's also never shown any interest in reading about sports.  If he's going to pick up a book on his own it would either be something ridiculous, which she wouldn't approve of, or a how to kind of book for one of his hobbies, which she wouldn't approve of.  

 

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5 minutes ago, domestic_engineer said:

model rockets?  Along those same lines, an engineer friend told me he built a V8 Visible Engine model as a kid that taught him a lot.   And then there are those wooden models of da Vinci's ideas or just marble roller coasters.

Have you tried the logic of "a cooking gift to DS is also a gift to me since it's one less time I have to cook"?  Is she local that she could attend a cooking class with your DS?  We have a macaron class in our big city.  Or a cake decorating class?

What about cash as a learning experience on how to cash a check/portion out to charity/ decide on best option, etc.

Ooooh maybe.  

Are model rockets something an 11 year old can do without an expert there?  I would prefer my house not be burned down.  I should look into that.  

She feels that the fact that I "make" my kids cook is an example of my lazy parenting, and that if I were a better parent he wouldn't have to cook.  Luckily, on his Dad's side he has an aunt who is an amazing cook who is happy to spend hours with him in the kitchen.  

She's not going anywhere with my kid, or spending any time with him without me in the same room.  

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Posted (edited)

Could you play up the STEM education arm of Legos purchased through Lego’s education store? The Lego Robotics EV type stuff? Like: https://education.lego.com/en-us/products/lego-mindstorms-education-ev3-core-set/5003400#lego-mindstorms-education-ev3

I think it would be all about how you present it. You could talk about wanting him to start learning some engineering STEM stuff and that a lot of schools have Lego Robotics teams for Middle and High schoolers and you’d like him to have an opportunity to start learning it to see if it would be something he would like to participate in?

 

eta: I see you just mentioned Lego robots, so maybe you already have this?

Edited by KSera
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5 minutes ago, KSera said:

Could you play up the STEM education arm of Legos purchased through Lego’s education store? The Lego Robotics EV type stuff? Like: https://education.lego.com/en-us/products/lego-mindstorms-education-ev3-core-set/5003400#lego-mindstorms-education-ev3

I think it would be all about how you present it. You could talk about wanting him to start learning some engineering STEM stuff and that a lot of schools have Lego Robotics teams for Middle and High schoolers and you’d like him to have an opportunity to start learning it to see if it would be something he would like to participate in?

We did that for Christmas 2019, and they've gotten a lot of use. 

Our middle school has a robotics class that he can take in 2022-23 but does not seem to have a robotics team (Covid makes it hard to tell for sure).  I thought about finding a team outside of school, but I worry about overscheduling. 

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15 minutes ago, fraidycat said:

Is he interested in computer coding at all? Maybe a course or software designed to teach coding, but is an "at your own pace" type of thing so he can pick away at it when he wants to and ignore it for weeks at a time when he is busy with his other interests. Maybe there is one where he can design sports themed video games? 🤷🏻‍♀️

He has not yet shown that interest, and my experience is that if an adult, especially one where he has a rocky relationship like Gma, decides he should be interested in something he'll become less interested in it.

I know that sounds really weird,  He would be the perfect kid for unschooling, if it was a fit for our family.  

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Posted (edited)

I heard about universal yums here and gifted it to my niece for Christmas. It was a HUGE hit! 

Lego architecture kits ?? With a trip to one if any are near by? 

That was about the age my son got really into Rubik’s cube. He sounds a lot like your son in the figure it out for yourself camp and he LOVED learning all the Rubik’s cube solving techniques. 
There’s a new one out that bluetooths to your computer for virtual competitions. I’ll find the link and post it. 
 

https://www.amazon.com/Rubiks-Connected-Electronic-App-Enabled-Capabilities/dp/B08JYVKJTG/ref=mp_s_a_1_3?adgrpid=117771585732&dchild=1&gclid=CjwKCAjwtdeFBhBAEiwAKOIy53_05xDCtxF5vz_6am-E9R_0Z2XyltpxMF-ZBWJX8HpGjWXW_Iyr_BoCq5AQAvD_BwE&hvadid=476990518271&hvdev=m&hvlocphy=9009315&hvnetw=g&hvqmt=e&hvrand=16887719186772389073&hvtargid=kwd-942514292342&hydadcr=19225_9665580&keywords=rubik's+connected+cube&qid=1622569701&sr=8-3

 

I don’t have any real review of this. My son ended up too advanced for it, he’s 19, but I think for beginners or younger kids, it would be a lot of fun! 

Edited by Toocrazy!!
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27 minutes ago, purpleowl said:

Something that will be returnable so he can spend the $ on something he cares about? (Kidding. Mostly.)

I know you're kidding, but gosh, after reading all this, I'd do it if you could get away with it. She gave mega amounts to one kid and not the other. Everything about this is... not awesome.

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I don't know much about them, but I think there are several types of kits for Raspberry Pi. Maybe it would be enough like Legos, and enough "figuring it out for himself", to be appealing. I think I remember hearing about one related to Minecraft, but that might be too fun for Grandma, unless you lean on the "learning how to build his own computer" aspect heavily.

Found it: https://projects.raspberrypi.org/en/projects/getting-started-with-minecraft-pi

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Would you or his dad have time to accompany him on an educational trip? Lots of choices- history, science, nature, whatever, and you can add in things that are NOT educational, just fun. For instance, Chicago has some awesome museums but it’s also fun. 

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4 minutes ago, Farrar said:

I know you're kidding, but gosh, after reading all this, I'd do it if you could get away with it. She gave mega amounts to one kid and not the other. Everything about this is... not awesome.

Oh there is so much not awesome about it.

I don’t need it to be equal in dollar amounts.  If she noticed what he was as into and got him a cool LEGO set, or a pair of goalkeeper gloves, or some cookie cutters, I think he’d feel seen and appreciated and I’d feel OK.  But the process, which I hope he is unaware of, of me listing things he likes and her shooting them down hurts, like he’s not good enough.  There are lots of suggestions here that he’d probably love and that would go nowhere.

I am tempted to tell her he’s taken up bassoon.  How much do you think I could sell a bassoon for?  She’d never know. 

Fortunately, on the other side of the family, he has a ton of relatives who know him and love him.  

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Posted (edited)

Does he already have a Kiwi Crate subscription?  Maybe check that out.

Depending on where you live, is there a science museum membership that includes a physical side?  I recall taking my kids to the one in Pittsburgh that has a SportWorks facility which was quite fun.

Or, some of the museum summer camps might appeal to your son as well as his granny.  🙂

Edited by SKL
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1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

He has not yet shown that interest, and my experience is that if an adult, especially one where he has a rocky relationship like Gma, decides he should be interested in something he'll become less interested in it.

I know that sounds really weird,  He would be the perfect kid for unschooling, if it was a fit for our family.  

It doesn't sound weird at all. I am that person who will reject perfectly good ideas if they come from someone I don't like. 😂

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1 hour ago, BaseballandHockey said:

He has not yet shown that interest, and my experience is that if an adult, especially one where he has a rocky relationship like Gma, decides he should be interested in something he'll become less interested in it.

I know that sounds really weird,  He would be the perfect kid for unschooling, if it was a fit for our family.  

I totally get this. My middle son is like this. I say that teaching him has been like dealing with a shy woodland animal...”Oh, nothing to look at here, I”m just leaving this book about this thing you might like over here on the coffee table....totally not school...no worries...” He’s also a kid who values his freetime strongly and really hates lessons or anything that might cut into that. 

For gifts...magazine subscriptions? Lego has a whole educational section...I know people have already suggested that but the education website has lots of ideas and maybe would make her feel like it was educational. 

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Camp?

A flying lesson (if a kid can take one near you in something not experimental).

Is he old enough to do the special tours at the zoos or aquariums near you?  
 

I’m stretching. I’d probably turn DH on her to give her his importance of sports speech.

Tickets to an expensive concert or show, like Blue Man Group or Hamilton?

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3 hours ago, SKL said:

Does he already have a Kiwi Crate subscription?  Maybe check that out.

He does, that's what I told her to get him for Christmas. And he's liked it OK.  He likes things that have more problem solving and less direction following better. 

3 hours ago, SKL said:

Depending on where you live, is there a science museum membership that includes a physical side?  I recall taking my kids to the one in Pittsburgh that has a SportWorks facility which was quite fun.

Or, some of the museum summer camps might appeal to your son as well as his granny.  🙂

He is not a museum kid.   I mean, he'll go if we go as a family.  But it's not something he'd choose.  

In another summer, camp might work.  There's a robotics camp he might like.   But we've got a brand new baby in the family that we'd like to see regularly, and so we agreed with baby's mom that unvaccinated kids would only do outdoor camps.  So, when swim team ends and I go back to work, he'll go to soccer camp, which she wouldn't pay for because it's sports.  

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53 minutes ago, Katy said:

Camp?

A flying lesson (if a kid can take one near you in something not experimental).

He's not doing indoor things yet. 

53 minutes ago, Katy said:

Is he old enough to do the special tours at the zoos or aquariums near you?  

Those aren't things he'd enjoy.  

53 minutes ago, Katy said:

 

I’m stretching. I’d probably turn DH on her to give her his importance of sports speech.

DH telling my mom what he thinks could go very bad very quickly.  

53 minutes ago, Katy said:

Tickets to an expensive concert or show, like Blue Man Group or Hamilton?

No, again not his thing.  He'd go.  Like if she gave his brother tickets for music, and there were 4, he'd come and he wouldn't hate it, but anything that involves sitting still isn't really his thing.  

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Photography? Like a really nice camera and some equipment? That's the kind of thing where at least you can start out teaching yourself, so it would be self-directed on his part, and he could photograph things he's interested in?

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  • Nothingtoseehere changed the title to What educational thing does my kid want for his 11th birthday? UPDATE PAGE 3

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